Tottenham into final after Lucas' late heroics complete manic comeback
This Champions League campaign is wild.
Lucas Moura capped his hat-trick with one of the final kicks of Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal in Amsterdam, sending Tottenham Hotspur through to the tournament’s showpiece against Liverpool on June 1.
Spurs overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit to beat Ajax 3-2 in the second leg, advancing with a 3-3 away-goal victory.
Erik ten Hag’s upstarts – a thrilling clash of adolescent energy and tea-sipping serenity – were coasting, but two second-half goals in four minutes from Lucas wiped out Ajax’s earlier efforts from Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech.
Ajax were so close to reaching their first final in the illustrious competition since 1996 despite over half an hour of end-to-end action which threatened the health of those in attendance. Just one more clearance might have done it. But a hopeful Spurs punt upfield bounced and spun off bodies until it found Lucas.
The Brazilians’ shot from 10 yards skimmed, as if in slow motion, before it found the far corner.
“Today it was non-tactical, more of a fight and a heart performance, heart and Lucas Moura. He’s how we won the game,” Christian Eriksen said after the match, according to BBC Sport. “He deserves it, rollercoaster of a season. For him to get us in the final, I hope he gets a statue in England after this.
“We are blown away, no real words for it. I feel sorry for Ajax. In the end think about ourselves. Not deserve it more, got there in the end.”
Spurs’ improbable turnaround came just 24 hours after Liverpool overturned a 3-0 first-leg defeat to Barcelona courtesy of a 4-0 win at Anfield. The Champions League has been filled with drama this season: Spurs surrendered a late winner to Manchester City in the previous round before it was disallowed by VAR; Manchester United saw off Paris Saint-Germain with a late penalty in the round of 16; but, above all else, Ajax have been the competition’s protagonists with an unforeseen run where they eliminated Real Madrid and Juventus, and so very nearly Spurs.
Tottenham and Liverpool will contest the first all-English Champions League final since 2008 at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano.